Women and Authority
Edited by Maxine Hanks

Chapter 7
Non-Hierarchical Revelation
Todd Compton

[185] When looking at authority in the LDS church, it is important to consider the concept of revelation and how it is received and processed. Revelation or revelatory insight is scripturally prescribed as a key ingredient of authority and decision-making in the LDS church, from the lowest ranking leadership to the highest councils. Revelation for the entire church is generally instituted by the highest governing councils of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

This essay discusses the process in which revelation comes to someone of comparatively low rank or someone not in the hierarchy, whose inspiration is eventually accepted by those higher in the organization or perhaps accepted by the general church membership. Revelation can go upward through the hierarchy itself or come from non-hierarchical to hierarchical positions. Non-hierarchical revelation happens more frequently than we have often noticed. It is a necessary part of healthy decision-making. Non-hierarchical patterns can be found in the scriptures and church history.

Non-hierarchical revelation is necessary because church leaders can be inspired, but they are also human and fallible. This fact is exemplified throughout the scriptures and LDS history: Moses disobeyed God at Meribath-Kadesh (Num. 20:11-12; 27:12-14); the apostle Peter acted hypocritically in response to social pressure; Lehi joined Laman and Lemuel in murmuring against the Lord; and Jonah did not want to save the repentant city of Ninevah. As [186] President J. Reuben Clark said, “Even the President of the Church has not always spoken under the direction of the Holy Ghost, for a prophet is not always a prophet … In our own Church, leaders have differed in view from the first.”1

Some church members might consider a discussion of fallibility as overly critical of prophets and church leaders. Yet acceptance of fallibility protects us from error and anti-Mormon attack. Otherwise church members and leaders are compelled to cover up failings of leaders in an unconvincing and dishonest way. And as we try unsuccessfully to cover up past mistakes, we add a new layer of human failings to church history for the next generation of members and leaders to deal with.

While some might distinguish between revelation and inspiration, I see them as at least closely related, on the same continuum. I consider inspiration, including moral insight, to be a sort of revelation. In an 1892 speech, church president Wilford Woodruff used revelation and inspiration as more or less interchangeable terms.2

Scriptural Examples

My first example is the confrontation of Paul and Peter at Antioch, which Paul describes in Galatians 2.3 The idea of fallibility was so troubling to Patristic commentators that this passage became a model case of “polemical theology” in the Middle Ages, and Augustine and Jerome had a famous dispute concerning it. Later scholars were troubled by the conflict between Augustine and Jerome and proposed theories to explain their dispute.4 The passage from Galatians reads:

When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile, and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force [187] Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? (Gal. 2:11-14, New International Version)

Peter was the leading member of the twelve original apostles selected by Jesus, whereas Paul was an apostle via personal visitation from Christ and was not one of the twelve. Earlier Peter had received a symbolic vision which convinced him to relax adherence to dietary laws of the Old Testament. Thereafter Peter ate with gentile Christians—a highly symbolic act of Christian unity, since generally Jews were revolted by the idea of eating in common with gentiles. It was probably also a ritual act linked with the early celebration of the sacrament.5

But when visitors arrived from a conservative faction concerned with preserving Jewish ritual practice, Peter withdrew; Barnabas and other Christians followed him. Paul saw this as an act of moral cowardice and denounced Peter publicly “to his face.” Peter, along with others, “played the hypocrite” (Greek, sunupekrithesan); “they carried Barnabas away with their ‘hypocrisy’ (tei hupokrisei)”; “they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel.” This language is strong, especially since hypocrisy was the central accusation Jesus leveled against the Pharisees.

When Peter abdicated his position of moral leadership, Paul assumed it and denounced the senior apostle. In a Mormon setting this would be equivalent to a newly-called apostle denouncing the president of the church in a regional conference—an extraordinary occurrence. The pattern is clear: moral leadership and inspiration flowed from below to above. Though edited out of Acts, this incident still found its way into the scriptures and survived, a valuable reminder of prophetic fallibility.

A second example comes from the Book of Mormon. Lehi and his clan were in the desert on the way to the Red Sea. The “good” Lehi, and his son Nephi, became opposed to the “bad” brothers Laman and Lemuel. But as is often the case in the Book of Mormon, things are not that simple. Lehi, chief prophet of the group, had both hierarchical and familial seniority, but he experienced a lapse in leadership (1 Ne. 16:18-20). There was a moment of crisis: Nephi broke his bow and food was inadequate for the exhausted desert travelers. Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael murmured “exceedingly,” and Lehi joined them and [188] “began to murmur against the Lord his God.”

Nephi assumed moral leadership at this point. His reaction to Lehi’s lapse was quite different from Paul’s reaction to Peter. He denounced his older brothers for hardening their hearts, implicitly but not directly reproaching Lehi too. Nephi then made a new bow and arrow and asked his father for guidance: “And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?”

It is worth noting that Nephi did not attack hierarchical structure or try to place himself above Lehi, just as Paul did not try to negate Peter’s authority in an absolute way. Instead Nephi used his personal agency to strengthen his father in his prophetic mission. As quiet and constructive as this response was, it was nevertheless a subtle but telling rebuke to an erring prophetic leader. Lehi was strongly and overtly rebuked by God “insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.” Lehi consulted the Liahona and received further chastening so that he “did fear and tremble exceedingly.” But the instrument gave direction for Nephi’s hunting, and he found and killed game. The crisis was averted. Once again the scriptures offer an example of a lapse in a prophet leader and of moral inspiration going from a hierarchically lesser figure to a higher one.

The most important revelation in Christian religious history was the resurrection of Jesus. This revelation was given first to women, who in Jewish culture at that time had no structural status—priestly, hierarchical, or rabbinical. In five different narratives we find the following accounts:

In Matthew, Mary Magdalene and Mary are told by the angel at the tomb that Christ has risen and that they should go tell the eleven apostles that they would see Christ in Galilee. Christ then appears to the women and gives the same message. Christ later appears to the eleven in Galilee.

In Mark the angel tells Mary, Mary, and Salome that Christ has risen, that they should tell the eleven that he would appear to them in Galilee. In the appendix to Mark (16:9ff.) Mary sees Christ and tells the eleven, who refuse to believe her. Christ then appears to the two at Emmaus; the eleven also refuse to believe them. Then Jesus appears to the eleven and rebukes them “for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”

[189] In Luke the women are told by two angels that Christ has risen. When they report to the eleven, “these words seemed an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” Jesus then appears to the two at Emmaus. He also appears to Peter and then to the twelve. The appearance of Christ to Mary and the women has been edited out in Luke, but women still receive the first (angelic) revelation.

In John, Jesus appears first to Mary, who is sent to witness to the eleven. Jesus then appears to them without Thomas. Then he appears to them with Thomas present, and Thomas is rebuked for faithlessness. Then Jesus appears to Peter and other apostles by the sea of Tiberias.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus appears to Peter, then to the twelve, then to more than 500 brethren, then to James, then to all the apostles. Women have been edited out of this version; it is a remarkably hierarchical account.

The rebukes to the apostles and the fact that Mary was the one chosen to receive the news first show clearly that she should be accounted as a great prophetic figure. Here we see someone outside of the twelve receive a revelation for all believers, and we see a lapse in faith in the highest echelon of the early church.

Witnessing the risen Christ was an important criterion for apostleship in the early church (Acts 1:22; 1 Cor. 9:1).6 Mary qualifies for apostleship pre-eminently. Furthermore apostle means “one sent,” from the Greek apostéllô, “to send.” It was paradoxical that Mary, a woman, should be “sent” by Christ to witness to the apostles. In the middle ages Mary was known as apostola apostolorum, apostle to the apostles.7

LDS Church History

Examples of non-hierarchal revelation can also be found in Mormon history. For example, a revelation given through Joseph Smith instructed Oliver Cowdery to reprove Joseph on occasion: “Admonish him in his faults, and also receive admonition of him.” Thus we have an upward and downward interplay of reproof. But in the previous verse, Oliver is instructed to “stand by my servant Joseph, faithfully, in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be” (D & C 6:18-20).

[190] Decisions about church revelation were intended to be consensual. In the Doctrine and Covenants the membership was given responsibility to approve or reject a proposed leader or revelation (20:65; 26:2). Also consensus was to be the operational mode in the quorums. According to one scholar:

The quorum of the anointed or holy order, was comprised of the first group of male and female members who received the endowment or fullness of priesthood. Joseph instructed them that they had the keys to test revelation, and were to test the revelation of anyone claiming to have received one for the Church … [T]he quorum had real, if not supreme priesthood authority in the church … From the time the quorum was first organized until his death, Joseph relied more and more on it to test out his doctrinal innovation and to disclose his most important decisions.8

An interesting example of non-hierarchical revelation occurred in the reception of the Word of Wisdom. In this example Emma Smith initiated a revelation, which Joseph Smith completed—resulting in a revelation for the entire church. In February 1833 Joseph held the School of the Prophets in a room above the kitchen of his house. According to Brigham Young, “the first thing they did was to light their pipes, and, while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom, and spit all over the room, and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would then be taken. Often when the Prophet entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke.”9

Emma complained at “having to clean so filthy a floor,” and according to Brigham Young, this in part “made the Prophet think upon the matter, and he inquired of the Lord relating to the conduct of the elders in using Tobacco, and the revelation known as Word of Wisdom was the result of his inquiry.” David Whitmer adds a bit more, telling us that Emma actually suggested a revelation on the subject: “Some of the men were excessive chewers of the filthy weed, and their disgusting slobbering and spitting caused Mrs. Smith … to make the ironical remark that ‘It would be a good thing if a revelation could be had declaring the use of tobacco a sin, and commanding its suppression.’”10

According to Whitmer, the men suggested the banning of tea and coffee in this proposed revelation as a counter-dig against the [191] women. Curiously the revelation discouraged use of both the men’s tobacco and the women’s tea and coffee, though it was originally a word of counsel, not an absolute ban.11 Again moral inspiration came first to a non-hierarchical person and then moved upward to the head of the church, resulting in a churchwide revelation.

Another example is an incident from the life of Joseph F. Smith. This comes from the most conservative source possible, President Smith’s Gospel Doctrine.12 President Smith had served a mission in Hawaii as a very young man. Then after Walter Gibson presided disastrously as mission president in Hawaii, two apostles, Ezra T. Benson and Lorenzo Snow, accompanied by Joseph F. Smith (then only twenty-five), visited the islands to reestablish the mission. Smith, not an apostle, acted as interpreter and was left as mission president when the two apostles returned to Utah.

As they arrived by boat, they tried to land. Their vessel was anchored in a rough channel, and the natives and young Joseph F. Smith knew it would be difficult to get to shore safely. The natives had built a breakwater and normally would carefully ferry passengers to shore in their small boats. But the apostles decided to take the ship’s “unwieldy freight-boat” and try for the shore. Smith disagreed and warned the senior church leaders that such a course would be extremely unsafe, that the boat ran a great risk of capsizing. The older men refused to listen to him. Smith offered to go ashore alone and bring a safer boat back, but the brethren insisted on taking the freight-boat immediately. Emotions apparently became heated, and one of the apostles told the young missionary, “Young man, you would better obey counsel.” The party got on the boat, but the strong-minded Joseph F. Smith refused to leave the main ship.

As the freight-boat came to the dangerous bit of sea, a wave overturned it, dumping the two apostles along with W. W. Cluff and others into about thirty feet of water. Natives saw the disaster and came out in a boat to rescue the drowning men. When they had pulled everyone out of the water and begun to paddle toward land, Cluff realized that Elder Snow was nowhere to be seen. They turned back, eventually found him, and brought him into the boat, though he looked dead. A messenger went back to Joseph F. Smith, who had witnessed everything, and told him Elder Snow had died. But after a priesthood blessing on the shore, Elder Snow’s normal [192] breathing was restored.

This example shows a young church member who had more experience and knowledge in a specific area than did apostles, who were newcomers to Hawaii and not acquainted with seafaring in the local area. Furthermore, one of the apostles—who should have acquiesced to the member’s greater experience—instead demanded obedience. But church member Smith “reiterated his impression of danger” and refused to obey.

Thus a church leader who seeks to wield ecclesiastical authority in an area in which he lacks expertise perhaps runs the risks of overstepping his bounds, courting danger, or causing damage despite his ecclesiastical position. Joseph F. Smith’s receptivity to personal impression coincided with knowledge and experience.13 Even if a church leader espouses valid principles as he ventures into matters with a secular dimension, he may not be able to instruct effectively without some measure of expertise.

Another such example is the story of Levi Savage and the Willie and Martin handcart companies of 1856. Savage, an experienced traveler and trail guide, spoke vehemently against starting a westward immigration to Utah in July, which was late in the season. However, he was outvoted by the highest church leaders in the company, who did not wish to detain the emigrants until the following spring.

Savage chose to make the trip with the company despite impending disaster and was denounced for his faithlessness by Apostle Franklin Richards. Of course the journey of these two companies was a tragic mistake and became “the worst disaster in the westward migration”14 due to the loss of several lives, great suffering, and many permanent injuries. Brigham Young denounced Elder Richards. He had been a church leader for most of his life but lacked practical knowledge, Young pointed out. Once again a church member with expertise in a specific area was more inspired than an apostle out of his element—with resulting negative effects upon church members.15

Another interesting example of non-hierarchical revelation is the conflict of Brigham Young and Orson Pratt over the teaching that Adam was God the Father and Christ was Adam’s literal son. As church president Young was a strong proponent of the Adam God doctrine, while Pratt, an apostle, was a strong opponent of the doctrine. In a fascinating, drawn-out conflict between the strong-willed [193] leaders, Young never quite got Pratt to knuckle under, and Pratt, though he had moments of retraction, never stopped insisting that the doctrine was not scriptural. Young claimed that he had learned the doctrine from Joseph Smith. One scholar has concluded that Joseph Smith did not teach the doctrine: Young was either elaborating on or misunderstanding Joseph’s teaching.16 This conclusion leaves us with a prophet who radically explored and ventured fairly far astray, doctrinally. But though Young strongly believed the doctrine, he never advanced it as an addition to LDS scripture. Pratt, the apostle, prevailed over the prophet, over time. Subsequent church leaders have rejected the doctrine, and church members do not accept it. For me this does not mean Young was not a prophet, but it allows one more sympathy for him as a fallible human being. Perhaps doctrinal exploration was not Brigham’s strongest area of expertise; perhaps he was more inspired in some areas than in others.17

Two examples illustrate my model on a more contemporary level. A friend’s stake president felt strongly that long hair on men was inappropriate even though the style was popular. The president refused to allow any of the young men of his stake to be ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood if they had long hair. My friend saw this as a personal view that was doing more harm than good. This went on for years, and as a result many young men did not go on missions and became inactive in the church. Finally when there had been widespread dissatisfaction with his policy, the president submitted it to his high council for a vote. They voted against it, and he bowed to their decision. My friend observed that the president relented only after years of practicing the previous policy with all its negative effects.

In one example a member of the church was excommunicated for privately questioning the reputation of a local leader. Later on there was an appeal to authority higher than the stake president and an investigation ensued. Eventually the stake president was excommunicated, and the local member was reinstated.

Contemporary Implications

These are challenging and paradoxical situations. Church members have the “follow the brethren” principle impressed on them [194] continually. But what do you do when church leaders are wrong? Church leaders are generally sincere, honest people, but no one is above making mistakes. Counselors in church government show one pattern of checks and balances on leaders. If the prophet were infallible and entirely self-sufficient, he would not need counselors. Yet nearly every church office has counselors—bishops, stake presidents, and the prophet. I have always been impressed by what Joseph F. Smith said on becoming president of the church:

I propose that my counselors and fellow presidents in the First Presidency shall share with me in the responsibility of every act which I shall perform in this capacity. I do not propose to take the reins in my own hands to do as I please; but I propose to do as my brethren and I agree upon … I have always held, and do hold, and trust I always shall hold, that it is wrong for one man to exercise all the authority and power of presidency in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I dare not assume such a responsibility, and I will not, so long as I can have men like these [pointing to Presidents Winder and Lund] to stand by and counsel with me in the labors we have to perform … If at any time my brethren of the apostleship shall see in me a disposition to depart from this principle, or a forgetfulness on my part of this covenant that I make today before this body of Priesthood, I ask them in the name of my Father, that they will come to me, as my brethren, as counselors in the Priesthood, as watchmen on the towers of Zion, and remind me of this covenant and promise which I make to the body of the Church in general conference assembled at this time. The Lord never did intend that one man should have all power, and for that reason he has placed in his Church, presidents, apostles, high priests, 70s, elders, and the various officers of the lesser Priesthood, all of which are essential in their order and place.18

Smith’s statement validates both an upward flow and a downward flow of inspiration: counselors’ insights and inspiration go up to the president, whose inspiration and revelation comes down in response. The president with true humility welcomes reproof from hierarchical subordinates as “watchmen.” According to Joseph F. Smith, for us to reprove leaders who are too autocratic is not just an option but our duty. Standing by a leader and reproving his faults are not contradictory. They are paradoxical but beneficial.

Connected with the concept of non-hierarchical revelation is the [195] notion of revelation coming to a group—consensual revelation. This can occur in boards, councils, quorums, auxiliaries, and memberships, particularly in the vote to sustain or oppose a decision. Contemporary church members typically use their sustaining vote to rubber-stamp decisions offered by the hierarchy. But if members disagree strongly with a leader or decision, it is disloyal to be quiet rather than disagree and improve the church. Members can sustain leaders by honestly disagreeing with them. Community is as important as leadership, though leadership is still a crucial part of the community.

All communities have structure, but each individual has his or her own gift and is therefore a leader in some way (see 1 Cor. 12:4-31). All are leaders and followers at the same time. The word hierarchy itself refers to sacred community. “Archy” (from arkhe) means “rule,” while “hier” (from hieros) means “holy, sacred, consecrated.” When we combine the concept of rule with “hieros,” structure can be sacred and beautiful. Paul compared the church to the human body. As the body can reflect divine beauty, so the church can reflect divine beauty through its structure, if all serve each other, leaders and followers (v. 3).

What is a holy community structure or leader/follower relationship? It is unlike secular models. The concept of hierarchy has come to mean rigid, stratified rule; authoritarianism; unthinking and uncaring bureaucracy. True “hieros”-“arkhe” is paradoxical: the greatest serve the least, as Christ washed the feet of the disciples; the lesser are not compelled to serve the greater. All are equally loved by God, but each individual has different gifts. If an individual has a needed gift, a structure might naturally coalesce around him or her as with Moses or Joseph Smith. If he or she has inspiration or revelation, he or she will have the attitude toward leadership that Christ taught: the leader is an authentic servant, not an authoritarian figure (Matt. 20:25-28; 25:40; Luke 9:48). For example, Moses was willing to give up his own salvation to rescue Israel (Ex. 32:32).

The patterns of non-hierarchical revelation have important implications for church leaders and members. First, they challenge us as leaders to take seriously the ideas, insights, counsel, suggestions, and rebukes of those hierarchically beneath us; to accept inspiration wherever we may find it; and even to look for such. We should know [196] we are fallible and have the courage to admit mistakes and resolve them, as did Lehi, instead of doggedly pursuing a wrong course. Not subjecting ourselves to self-examination is dangerous. Lehi’s community was much better off because Lehi did not lash out at the quiet rebuke given him by his son. Lehi’s humility opened the way for a renewal of revelation in a community drifting away.

According to one patristic tradition regarding the Antioch incident, Peter “humbly submitted to the reproach of his ‘inferior.’” This interpretation helped create the “humble prelate” theme, which theologians cited when trying to reason with obstinate popes in the middle ages. Later Luther would use this theme to argue that the humblest Christian could correct an erring pope.19

The implications for church members are also important. We might consider the phrase: “Follow the Brethren.” The members of the Willie and Martin handcart companies were, literally, following the brethren. What was their responsibility in the decision to embark across the plains? Do they share guilt as well as suffering in the tragedy? According to Paul, if we follow church leaders who are not doing right, we are not absolved from wrongdoing. We share their guilt. And sometimes obedience to church leaders and obedience to God and moral justice are not the same thing.

This principle puts a sobering burden on us. It can be easy, in one sense, to live by the dictum “when our leaders speak the thinking is done.” But God requires us to develop our own agency and evaluate truth for ourselves. That is more difficult. Then if we find leadership wanting, we have a responsibility to address problems.20

Brigham Young instructed church members not to take his counsel thoughtlessly but to subject it to careful examination.21 Hugh B. Brown as a counselor in the First Presidency said: “While all members should respect, support, and heed the teachings of the Authorities of the Church, no one should accept a statement and base his testimony upon it, no matter who makes it, until he has, under mature examination, found it to be true and worthwhile; then his logical deductions may be confirmed by the spirit of revelation to his spirit because real conversion must come from within.”22

Some wonder how it would be possible to keep order in the church with non-hierarchical patterns operating. Does this model lead to the danger of schism? An authoritarian wrong-headed leader [197] can do a great deal of damage, but an authoritarian wrong-headed critic can cause damage as well. But in none of the examples I cited did the dissenters leave the church when they received their own, individual inspiration. They stayed and enriched the church.

Another valid question: does personal revelation make a person a law unto himself or herself? No, non-hierarchical revelation does not negate hierarchy. Structure is still there, but it is sacred, “hieros” “arkhe.” The dissenters I have discussed were a part of the church structure or related to it somehow and were spiritually sensitive people. Nephi approached Lehi about a way to implement his idea. There are non-threatening ways of working non-hierarchically.

What about conflicting revelations of members and leaders? Obviously this can happen. Many times no simple solutions can be found to complex problems. Every church member must use judgment in evaluating what is inspiration and what isn’t. In many ways non-hierarchical revelation is freeing. But in other ways it is a great burden. If misused it can lead to apostasy; if not used, moral apathy can result. Using non-hierarchal revelation, Nephi helped bring his community back from the brink of apostasy.

I believe God sees the church in all its complexity, sees both its hierarchical order and its democracy. In the church we strongly hold to the idea of personal revelation, but we often interpret revelation only hierarchically. You get personal revelation only for yourself; the prophet alone gets inspiration for the church. However, the story of Emma and the Word of Wisdom shows that inspired insight for the benefit of the church can come to non-hierarchical church members—including women. If our leaders are sensitive and practice “sacred rule,” the insight we receive will affect them and lead to further revelation.

Finally, non-hierarchical revelation leads to one last conclusion. I have argued elsewhere that Mormon women have priesthood, especially those who have been through the temple, and that they should be integrated formally into the church structure. But as matters presently stand, women are denied participation in the church hierarchy and are excluded from the most important church positions. The non-hierarchical pattern shows us that women can receive revelation and inspiration for the benefit of the church, not just for themselves and their children. Sacred rule can work perfectly [198] only when all, including women, are part of the process. Mary, a woman, was the first revelator for Christ’s resurrection from the dead. She did not negate the ecclesiastical structure but enhanced it. Perhaps this is one of our most beautiful and profound models of “hieros” “arkhe.”


Todd Compton received a Ph.D. in classics from the University of California at Los Angeles and has published articles in American Journal of Philology, Classical Quarterly, and The Journal of Popular Culture. He is currently a fellow at the Huntington Library and lives in Los Angeles. An earlier version of “Non-Hierarchical Revelation” was printed in Sunstone 15 (June 1991), with an addendum in Sunstone 15 (Nov. 1991).

1. J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “When Are Church Leaders’ Words Entitled to Claim of Scripture?” Church News, 31 July 1954, 2f. Clark gave this speech to LDS seminary and institute teachers at Brigham Young University on 7 July 1957. He quoted Joseph Smith, History of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), 5:265.

2. Deseret Weekly, 9 Oct. 1892, in Rodney Turner, Women and the Priesthood (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), 281.

3. For bibliography on this confrontation, see Hans Dieter Betz, Galatians, A Commentary … (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979), 104; Karlfried Froehlich, “Fallibility Instead of Infallibility? A Brief History of the Interpretation of Galatians 2:11-14,” in Teaching Authority & Infallibility in the Church, eds. Paul Empie, T. Austin Murphy, and Joseph Burgess (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1978), 259-69.

4. For defenses of Peter in this incident, see the Kerygmata Petrou 1:4-5, in Betz, 331; for Augustine and Jerome, see Froehlich, 261-62, with bibliography.

5. Cf. Günther Bornkamm, Paul, trans D.M.G. Stalker (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 45; S. Scott Bartchy, “Tablefellowship with Jesus and the ‘Lord’s Meal’ at Corinth,” in Increase in Learning: Essays in Honor of James G. Van Burne (Manhattan, KS: Manhattan Christian College, 1979), 45-61, esp. 57; J. Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977), 204-206, 262.

6. Also R. Schnackenburg, “Apostles Before and During Paul’s Time,” in Apostolic History and the Gospel, eds. W. Gasque and Ralph Martin (Exeter: Paternoster, 1970), 287-303; Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John, 2 vols. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970), 2:973.

7. The Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine, trans. Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger (New York: Arno Press, 1969), 357. For a fuller discussion, see my “Mary Magdalene and the Recognition of Christ,” Sunstone New Testament series, 1991.

8. Margaret Toscano, “Missing Rib,” Sunstone, July 1985, 21; Andrew F. Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon Succession Question,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1982, 41.

9. Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool: LDS Book Depot, 1855-86), 12:158; hereafter JD.

10. David Whitmer, Des Moines Daily News, 16 Oct. 1886, 20; cf. Paul H. Peterson, “An Historical Analysis of the Word of Wisdom,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1972, 19-20; Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, Mormon Enigma (New York: Doubleday, 1984), 47.

11. Peterson, 19-20.

12. Gospel Doctrine, 10th ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1956), 534-35; from a “Biographical Sketch,” by Edward H. Anderson. For another account of this incident, see Eliza R. Snow Smith, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow … (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1884), 276-81.

13. Elder Dallin Oaks has said, “Seekers who have paid the price in perspiration have been magnified in inspiration,” Ensign 19 (May 1989): 29.

14. Rebecca Cornwall and Leonard J. Arrington, Rescue of the 1856 Handcart Companies (Provo, UT: Charles Redd Center, 1982).

15. See Wallace Stegner, The Gathering of Zion (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1964), 221-48; LeRoy and Ann Hafen, Handcarts to Zion, 1856-60 (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1960), 53-141; B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church … (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 4:88-97. According to Roberts, “To the overzeal, not to say fanaticism, of his brethren, Elder Savage opposed common sense, and his knowledge of the country” (89).

16. David Buerger, “The Adam-God Doctrine,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 15 (Spring 1982): 14; see also Gary James Bergera, “The Orson Pratt-Brigham Young Controversies: Conflicts within the Quorum, 1853-1868,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 13 (Summer 1980):7. For Brigham’s inspiration, see Leonard Arrington, Brigham Young American Moses (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985); Hugh Nibley, Nibley on the Timely and Timeless (Provo: Brigham Young University, 1978), 229-61.

17. Brigham Young and Orson Pratt also disagreed about whether God progressed in knowledge. In our day Elder Bruce R. McConkie, following Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, supported Pratt’s position while BYU English professor Eugene England supports Young’s. See Eugene England, “Perfection and Progression: Two Complimentary Ways to Talk about God,” Brigham Young University Studies 29 (Summer 1989): 31-47. Non-hierarchical revelation is at work somehow.

18. Quoted from Gospel Doctrine, 176-77; Conference Report (Special) 1901, 82.

19. Froehlich, 263nn24-26; Augustine, Epistle 82.2.22; Cyprian, Epistle 71.3. For the humble prelate theme, Froehlich, 265. For Luther, see Froehlich, 267.

20. See L. Jackson Newell, “Personal Conscience and Priesthood Authority,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 13 (Winter 1980): 81-87. Also Jill Mulvay Derr and C. Brooklyn Derr, “Outside the Mormon Hierarchy: Alternative Aspects of Institutional Power,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 15 (1982): 21-43.

21. JD 3:45, in D. Michael Quinn, “From Sacred Grove to Sacral Power Structure,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 17 (Summer 1984): 14. “Some may say, ‘Brethren, you who lead the Church, we have all confidence in you … and if Brother Brigham is satisfied with it, I am.’ I do not wish any Latter-day Saint in this world, nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied.” Quinn cites instances in which congregations voted against proposals by church leaders; in these cases the president acceded to the community vote.

22. “Pres. Brown Addresses BYU,” Deseret News, 24 May 1969, 13.